7 Dead Sins: My pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh

Another amazing book with many lessons to be learnt.

This book was about the struggles that the author (David Walsh) faced as he recorded the rise of Lance Armstrong (L.A.) from the time he was a nobody to the world champion of 7 Tour de France competitions. I loved especially how David’s perception and attitude changes towards L.A. after being exposed to the dirty world of pro cycling, from being an awestruck person full of respect for the great potential that L.A. had to the indifferent attitude that he possessed after he knew that L.A. had doped in order to win.

Many people had tried to voice out to the world regarding doping in cycling before David but had ended up having their voices drowned out by the overwhelming influence that the cyclists who doped possessed. These cyclists either crushed them by taking away their jobs or ruining their credibility so that they had no choice but to change their stance towards doping.

I am just in awe and full of respect for David and cannot fathom how possibly he could have survived all those years of being “bullied” especially by L.A. who gave him many nicknames like “troll” and etc. (of course he had support from his close friends and family but still, it’s pretty remarkable how he stood firmly and said enough is enough, doping must be stopped). This point is particularly relatable to our lives today where as society gets more and more competitive, people tend to lose sight of the journey to the destination and would rather focus on the goal.

This book teaches us about being honest and having integrity in everything that we do. It’s about standing firm for whatever beliefs that we may have (of course they have to be morally right) and facing adversity head on, however hard they may be. David got his motivation to face the problems that he faced from his son, John, who had passed away from an accident. John was a person who had the tendency to ask the hard questions when no one else did. So if i may, obviously it’s gonna be hard, but learn from John. Believe the impossible, ask questions when no one else does, and make a change in the world. Don’t always follow the crowd and sometimes when you’re the only one walking in that particular direction in life, that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Believe in yourself and believe in your potential. In a world today where people around me are so filled with negativity and they always doubt themselves, i honestly feel that EVERYONE is capable of accomplishing great things. You just have to go and find out what your purpose in life is.

Hence, learn from John, learn from David, learn from the many others who have walked before him. The journey of revealing the truth about doping in cycling is just a replicate of our journey in life where we will face adversities along the way. Our moral values will be tested but i believe all of us have the potential to overcome them and stand firmly.

“I watch the Olympic Games but i don’t bother to remember the names of the athletes any more. It’s like theatre — but i prefer the theatre because the relationship between actor and spectator is clear. In sport’s theatre, both are pretending it’s real.” said by Sandro Donati.

I don’t really agree with Donati’s words. Maybe i’m too optimistic or maybe i feel that he has seen too many sportsmen who cheated through doping, but i believe in the good that every sportsmen/sportswomen have in them. This is especially so with regards to the immense influence that that they posses. For example, statistics have shown that with every appearance of Michael Phelps at every world championships, the number of children who have been enrolled in swimming classes have increased tremendously.

However, there is some truth in Donati’s words. In the recent 2016 Rio Olympics, one of the US swimming team members, Ryan Lochte, caused a huge ruckus when he damaged Brazilian property and tried to cover it up by claiming that he was robbed. With his status as an exemplary athlete in the pool, this incident was widely known by many and he initially gained the sympathy of the world as many accused Brazil of executing a ‘bad job’ in hosting the Olympics. After the video recording where Lochte was seen vandalising the petrol station was uncovered, Lochte was accused of humiliating Brazil and there was even a comment on Twitter which said, “Lochte has displayed to the world what it means to be American.” The words may be overly harsh to a certain extent, but there is some truth in them. Lochte has abused and forgotten about the responsibility and impact that he has on the world.

All is not lost, however, as another of Lochte’s teammates has also fallen from grace but has risen from the ashes. Michael Phelps was previously accused of drink driving and was suspended from swimming competitively after the 2012 London Olympics. However, he was deeply remorseful and redeemed himself by undergoing treatment and look where he is today — the most decorated Olympian ever with a record breaking 28 medals, of which 23 of them are gold. This is just a classic example which shows that there is light and darkness in everyone where everyone has the choice of which path they choose to walk.

All in all, i absolutely love how self reflecting this book and strongly urge everyone to pick it up. It may be a mere recount of the author’s struggles in proving that L.A. was a cheat but so many lessons can be learnt. Truly a remarkable read!

P.S. Once again, do let me know any ways i can improve on my writing and it’s time for me to head back to the library to find new interesting reads :) Hope you have enjoyed this review!